CMSD gave 47 outstanding teachers the Hollywood treatment on Thursday afternoon, adopting an Academy Awards theme while recognizing the educators for model classroom and leadership practices.
OK, as productions go, this was low budget -- the teachers walked a stretch of red paper instead of carpet to accept certificates and then toasted the occasion with sparkling grape juice, instead of champagne, in plastic glasses. But Chief Academic Officer Michelle Pierre-Farid made it clear that these are stars.
"You want to make a difference in the lives of children," she told the group gathered on the second floor of the District's East Professional Center. "It's not an easy job."
Principals nominated teachers in four areas: differentiated instruction that considers every child as an individual, use of student data to drive instruction, rigorous scholarly work and learning experiences, and social and emotional learning, which teaches self-control and respect. The honorees accepted their certificates from Pierre-Farid after watching a video in which some of them reflected fondly on their work.
Brittany Neal, who teaches first grade at Bolton School on the East Side, was recognized for data-driven instruction. She said afterward that she is part of a team effort involving teachers in prekindergarten through second grade.
"We work pretty much collaboratively," said Neal, who joined CMSD this school year after teaching at charters for five years. "We pull our data and discuss what's working, what's not and how to get our kids to the next level."
Suzanne Head, who teaches fourth-grade literacy at Louisa May Alcott School on the West Side, won for her class's rigorous scholarly work and learning experiences. Principal Eileen Mangan-Stull said Head is "the most masterful teacher I think I have ever worked with."
"She has a masterful way of getting the children to learn," said Mangan-Stull, who has logged 36 years in education, 15 of those as a principal. "I've got a lot of good teachers in my building, but she's really good."